Hiryu Bushido Kai (HBK) Martial Arts and Wellness Centre, a traditional martial arts dojo in Port Perry, will be celebrating its 25th anniversary on April 26.
Instructors Hanshi Fred Walker and Shihan Brian Norrish have been teaching the residents of Port Perry their own traditional, value-based, and rigourous blend of martial arts since 1989 - at their 15258 Simcoe St. dojo.
"April 19 will mark our official 25 years since we opened, and we will be holding a gala and celebration on April 26," said Hanshi Walker. "The party will feature dinner, demonstrations, and a student grading – we would like to invite all of our past and current students to contact us and come catch up!"
Their own history dates back to a combined experience of over 85 years. Hanshi Walker holds an eighth degree black belt in Karate, a black belt in Judo, and is a certified Reiki Master - while Shihan Norrish holds a fifth degree black belt in Karate.
"We started as a group of Senseis, the Japanese title for instructor," said Shihan Norrish. "We have since earned the titles of Hanshi, the instructor of masters, and Shihan, the master instructor. Our passions are strong in this ancient art, and we love teaching residents of all ages, in Port Perry and beyond."
From humble beginnings and a desire to train youth in the martial arts, Hanshi Walker and Shihan Norrish have raised many of their own students to black belt and Sensei level.
They now hold a troop of eight currently active instructors. The numerous Sensei allow HBK to collectively pool their experience and teach a diverse range of classes.
"We many types of hand-to-hand combat, the meditative art of tai chi, and the use of long staff and sai, " said Shihan Norrish. "Hanshi even teaches a group of Iaido students on the use of the Japanese katana, or samurai sword."
HBK Martial Arts focuses on the traditional tenants of respect, honour, discipline, selfcontrol and defence. The instructors believe that the mind must be trained alongside the body, and are heavily entrenched in the values of eastern martial arts.
The institution's creed is posted on the walls of their dojo, as a constant reminder to students.
The creed reads "I will build a strong body, mind and spirit. I will honour and respect myself, my parents and all others. I will develop self-discipline and self-control. I will keep my promises and complete all tasks. I will use karate only to defend myself or others, and make the world a better place."
Hanshi Walker, Shihan Norrish, and the other numerous Sensei primarily instruct students in Shotokan Karate, an internationally recognized and regulated form of Karate which adheres to a strict curriculum and grading system.
"We also encourage students to learn the use of Judo throws and focusing methods," said Hanshi Walker. "We ensure that our students have a wellrounded base of skills to draw from, so that they can continue their martial arts career."
Hanshi Walker has had diverse and distinguished life, and has worn many hats. He was the founder of the Durham Deaf Centre, an RCMP officer, and a Christian Minister at one point or another. Martial arts have always been a passion and hobby of his, until he decided to commit more time to teaching and opened the doors of HBK.
"I wanted to teach what I had learned to others and help improve their lives," said Hanshi Walker. "I can see the benefits in the children who join our club – many of them come with behavioral problems, attention disorders, confidence issues, or problems with bullies, and we get to see them learn focus and discipline."
Hanshi Walker believes that learning the traditional form of a martial art teaches so much more than just combat - as opposed to more competition-based style such as the popular Mixed Martial Arts. He also believes that once a student progresses beyond the first initial stages and ranks, an important change takes place.
"If you trained in a dojo twice per week for 1,000 years and only took instructions from a sensei, you wouldn't advance very far," said Shihan Norrish. "The bigger part of training is when you begin to teach yourself and develop self-discipline - eventually a student may become a sensei who trains other students and continues the process full-circle. It's not a sport, but a lifestyle."
Further information can be found on-line at www.HBKMartialArts.com, by phoning (905) 985-0205, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.